Technology Connects People with MealsJuly 29, 2016 | 8:04 am |
About 50,000 people attended the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. This means that a lot more food than usual was being prepared by Philadelphia’s restaurants, hotels, street vendors, and private parties as people flocked to the city to welcome the Democratic nominee.
This also means a lot more food than usual is being wasted. As with Pope Francis’s visit to the city in 2015, more people, unfortunately, means more food waste. Thousands of pounds of fresh food is lost, simply because places do not know where to donate the food that needs to go somewhere else immediately to avoid spoiling.
Inspired by this obstacle, an organization called Food Connect was founded in 2014. It works with restaurants, hotels, and other places to rescue food in Philly and donate it to local hunger relief organizations, who make meals that same day for the people in need.
In 2015, Food Connect’s founder, Megha Kulshreshtha, started to develop an app for non-profit. The app helps to connect places with excess food tofood pantries and shelters in the city and the convention is going to serve as the first true test of its viability.
The only drawback seen with Food Connect? Keeping people engaged. Donations tend to rise and fall when big events, such as the convention, come and go.
It is not only during week-long events, that unused food needs to be donated. Waste occurs all of the time and needs to be donated all of the time. Yes, there will be less food waste when 50,000 less people are in a city, however, there is still a significant amount generated by restaurants and other places that serve food.
Food Connect’s goal may be to use the app to reduce food waste during the Democratic National Convention, but the national, and international, goal is to reduce food waste and create meals all of the time. Not just one week every four years. Organizations like Food Connect can have a huge impact year-round, we just need to continually recognize that our food waste can go to a much better place than a landfill.
Find out how to start your own food drive!